CHENNAI: Former Tamil Nadu captain and middle-order batsman, Sridharan Sharath, was named the chairman of the junior national selection committee by the BCCI. Sharath replaces Aashish Kapoor. The other committee members are Kishan Mohan (North Zone), Ranadeb Bose (East Zone), Pathik Patel (West Zone) and Harvinder Singh Sodhi (Central).
The five-member committee's major job will be selecting the India Under-19 team that will play the World Cup in the West Indies next year.
Sharath is keen to give young pacers a platform so that India can keep up the new pattern of producing fast bowlers. "The selectors' job is a very challenging one and I wish to do it to the best of my ability,'' said Sharath. "The first thing that we (selectors) would like to do is to watch the Vinoo Mankad Trophy and have a look at the available talent in the country and then work on picking the boys for the various roles,'' the 48-year old added.
Sharath was basically a grafter during his playing days but one who could change gears as per the demands of the situation.
With the advent of IPL, players prefer white ball cricket over red ball. In other words, aggression is the preferable jargon nowadays.
"We (selectors) have to be in tune with the changing times," he said. "What we would look and lay emphasis upon are the players' ability to express themselves in a given situation. We will examine whether they have the required skill sets to do the job and perform the role. White ball or red ball, every format is important today. So I do not believe in branding players. Whoever has the ability to adapt and perform the job will be given opportunities to express themselves.''
What he believes in his giving the young bowlers an opportunity to shine. No surprise really as the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami have inspired the senior side in recent years. It's a topic Sharath touches upon while speaking about the recently held England series.
"Bumrah was brilliant. What a spell he bowled in the last Test (at The Oval). Absolutely mind-boggling. Bumrah and Co. were simply brilliant in the series. We have the best pace attack in the world. We would like to identify players, give them the platform and allow them to excel and keep the supply of fast bowling going,'' said Sharath.
Many believe that this a supply chain for the national side. The likes of Prithvi Shaw have graduated from Under-19 to the senior team. So the junior selectors job is all the tougher for they have to identify the right talent.
"It is too early to think on the lines of the supply chain for the national side. Our task will be to identify the best available talent and give them an opportunity to express themselves. As far as the Under-19 team is concerned, we will have discussions among us, have the inputs of the NCA and then decide on the composition. Coming to spinners, every discipline is important. Leg-spinners are attacking options in every format. Similarly, for all-rounders too there are specific roles. We have to see who has the talent to excel in both role or else groom someone who has the potential,'' said Sharath.
He also thanked the BCCI and former board president, N Srinivasan, for encouraging him.